Camp Report (84): Raiders welcome back old faces

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Camp Report (84): Raiders welcome back old faces

Aug. 4, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comPractice No. 7Summary: With the players union re-certifying itself and voting to ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement early Thursday afternoon, the Raiders had a larger complement of players at their disposal. The veterans who agreed to contracts with the team after the lockout ended were finally allowed to practice, giving the Raiders 83 players on their training camp roster. But one big name is still missing, that of restricted free agent Michael Bush, who has yet to sign his first- and third-round tenders. Plus, there were so many guys nicked up that didn't suit up. The offense again got the better of the defense for the second day in a row, even if the defense showed what is likely to be its starting 11 come opening night in Denver. Yes, it was the Denarius Moore show again.

Injury report: Fifteen players sat out practice with various "nicks," receivers Jacoby Ford (broken left hand), Louis Murphy and Eddie McGhee, fullback James McCluskey, tailbacks Taiwan Jones, Michael Bennett and Darren McFadden (fractured eye socket), offensive linemen Cooper Carlisle, Bruce Campbell (knee), Lou Eiliades and Alan Pelc, defensive backs Chimdi Chekwa (shoulder), Walter McFadden and Joe Porter and defensive end Trevor Scott (knee). Plus, linebacker Rolando McClain, cornerback Walter McFadden and quarterback Jason Campbell did not finish practice.Offensive play of the day: A day after putting together a highlight reel tape against cornerback Stanford Routt, rookie receiver Denarius Moore delivered again. This time, running a post from 25 yards out, an outstretched Moore went up and, between Stevie Brown and DeMarcus Van Dyke, plucked Jason Campbell's pass out of the air. Moore came down with both feet in the end zone for the touchdown, just in front often goalpost. It was as impressive as it was physical.Defensive play of the day: While a healthy Chaz Schilens has been the most impressive wideout thus far in camp, "forgotten" cornerback Chris Johnson owned him on one play. With Schilens running a short curl, Johnson cut in front of him and intercepted Jason Campbell's pass. For a split second, when Johnson's No. 37 flashed for the pick, it looked like Lester Hayes and gobs of stickum flying into the picture. Almost.Eye on reps: With all of their players finally available, the defense took on a familiar look. On the line, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour and Matt Shaughnessy. Quentin Groves, Rolando McClain and Kamerion Wimbley were the linebackers. And Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson were the cornerbacks while Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff were the safeties.Rookie report: Center Stefen Wisniewski's baptism by fire continued in an especially grueling session in which he went one-on-one with the Raiders' fearsome three-headed monster of Richard Seymour, John Henderson and Tommy Kelly. All in a day's work for the Raiders legacy. Especially since he's more than holding his own.Notable: With the Raiders entering the day anywhere from 14 million to 17 million over the cap, reportedly, and the players ratifying the new CBA in time to officially start the new league year, the 1 p.m. deadline for teams to get under the 120-million salary cap was pushed back 24 hours. "We will be in compliance," said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "(Al Davis) knows that cap as well as anybody in this league." As such, there was no movement in the Kevin Boss talks, though reports came out that Stanford Routt and Richard Seymour both re-structured their contracts to help out. Neither, though, confirmed as much.Quotable: "Well, you know, I always remain, Hey, I don't talk about contracts and, uh, anything like that. But, you know, I'll be ready for Game 1, so." - Defensive tackle Richard Seymour on if he's re-structured his contract to help the Raiders' salary cap woes.Next practice: Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?

Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game.

The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play.

"I think it's going to be a showdown," Bell said. "Two great quarterbacks going head to head. Two of the best teams in the AFC. It's time to settle it next week."

Since 2001, the Patriots and Steelers have combined to win nine AFC titles.

Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher - the first overall selection in the 2013 draft - was penalized for holding. The next try failed.

With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.

The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.

"The coaches put a lot of trust in me to get the job done," Bell said of his 30 carries. "Just run hard. Just picked my spots where I could and run hard."

The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.

Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.

The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.

A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier.

The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry - burned for 26 yards on the previously play - picked it off in the end zone.

Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.

"It's just about doing my job," Boswell said. "Coming out here, put it through the yellow pipes. Don't really think too much. Don't think like I'm the guy or anything. I'm just doing my job and doing my one-eleventh for the team."

Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.

WEATHERMAN

Switching the game from noon local time to an evening kickoff to avert an ice storm had no effect on the crowd. Fans arrived early, tailgated in the rain as the worst of the storm never hit the area. But fog rolled into Arrowhead Stadium in the second quarter, obscuring some views from on high. Not that what was going on was worth watching for Chiefs fans.

NOTES

Bell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). ... Boswell's four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. ... Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Head to New England for a shot at making the Super Bowl.

Lewis' historic performance leads Patriots past Texans, into AFC title game

Lewis' historic performance leads Patriots past Texans, into AFC title game

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots are headed back to a familiar spot: the AFC championship game.

Dion Lewis had a 13-yard touchdown reception , a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, and a late 1-yard touchdown to help the Patriots hold off the Houston Texans 34-16 on Saturday night and advance to an NFL-record sixth straight conference title game.

Lewis became the fifth Patriots player to score three touchdowns in a playoff game. He's also the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a rush, a catch and a kick return in a postseason game.

The Patriots (15-2) survived a gritty effort by the Texans' top-ranked defense, which intercepted Brady twice. Houston's special teams also forced a third turnover.

But the Texans (10-8) couldn't find enough traction on offense to take full advantage of the Patriots' mistakes, settling for field goals on both of Brady's picks.

New England led just 17-13 at the half, but pushed its lead to 24-13 early in the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brady to James White.

Houston's Brock Osweiler was intercepted three times after that, and the Texans managed only a field goal the rest of game.

It was the first breakout game of the season for Lewis, who spent the first eight games of the season on injured reserve recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee.

Brady finished 18 of 38 for 287 yards and two touchdowns and was showered with chants of "MVP! MVP!" and "Brady! Brady!" late in the game. Julian Edelman was Brady's most dependable target, catching eight passes for 137 yards.

Osweiler was just 23 of 40 for 198 yards with the two turnovers.

When New England did have the ball in the first half, it gave Houston a steady diet of Lewis early with LeGarrette Blount coming off an illness that limited him during practice this week.

Without Blount to contend with, the Texans applied pressure to Brady.

A.J. Bouye intercepted a slightly overthrown ball by Brady late in the first quarter on a pass that bounced out of the hands of receiver Michael Floyd. That led to a 27-yard field goal that cut New England's lead to 14-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Lewis coughed up the ball on a hit from Akeem DentEddie Pleasant fell on it at the Patriots 12, and two plays later, Brock Osweiler hit C.J. Fiedorowicz from 8 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-13.

Brady only threw two interceptions during the regular season. With his 28 touchdown passes, that was the lowest touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history.

CLOWN TIME IS OVER:
Jadeveon Clowney was in Brady's face all game, flattening him in the first half with a legal hit and bringing him down a couple of times in the second on plays that were a little more questionable.

In the third quarter, Brady was chased out of the pocket before heaving the ball downfield. Clowney dragged him to the turf, and Brady came up kicking. The Patriots quarterback made his case to the referee, but no penalty was called.

Early in the fourth, though Clowney was called for roughing the passer for Brady after he got rid of the ball and while he was in the clutches of defensive end Christian Covington.

PILING UP POINTS:
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski continues to climb the NFL's career postseason scoring list.

He made an extra point in the first quarter to pass Rice and move into third place on the league's career list. It was Gostkowski's 133rd postseason point, breaking a tie with the San Francisco 49ers receiver.

Next up are kickers Gary Anderson, David Akers and all-time leader Adam Vinatieri, who had half of his 234 career postseason points with New England before moving on to the Indianapolis Colts.

INJURIES:
Texans: RB Tyler Ervin left in the second quarter with a concussion. Defensive end Joel Heath exited in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

Patriots: WR Chris Hogan left in the third quarter with a thigh injury.

UP NEXT:
Texans: End of season.

Patriots: Will host either Pittsburgh or Kansas City in next week's AFC title game.